18/09/2016 Sunday Politics


18/09/2016

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My thanks to Greg Hands, Tom Brake and Neil Coyle,

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Will Jeremy Corbyn be able to reunite the Labour Party if he's

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If Theresa May facing a backbench rebellion over her Brexit strategy?

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And does Tim Farron have any chance of staging a Lib Dem comeback

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Back with me now is Helen Lewis, Isabel Oakeshott and Tim Shipman.

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Also, following on from our interview with Labour MP Peter Kyle,

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who's complained that some Corbyn supporters are trying

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to deselect him, we can speak to the national

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organiser for Momentum, James Schneider, who joins

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James, there is mounting evidence that one of the purposes, one of the

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purposes, of Momentum is to get more Corbyn friendly Labour MPs elected.

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Are you still denying that? There is not mounting evidence that Momentum

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is campaigning for the. We are not campaigning for the selections. The

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one person who is apparently going to appear in a documentary tomorrow

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calling for Peter Kyle to be deselected isn't a member of

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Momentum. So you would urge all Momentum supporters in Brighton and

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Hove to back Mr Kyle, the sitting MP? That is not what I'm saying, I'm

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saying selections are a matter for local party members and affiliates

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and it is their right to decide what they would like to decide. Momentum

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is not campaigning to reselect any particular MPs. So why was Mr Sandel

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addressing a group of Momentum supporters, telling them how to go

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about deselecting anti-Corbin Labour MPs? He was invited by one local

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group. In a big organisation which is very, very active, 150 groups,

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18,000 members, tens of thousands of activists, people have democratic

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debate and get invited for talks, that is normal. One meeting does not

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dictate national policy. Are you telling us today that Momentum, at

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the local level, is not and will not be involved in any efforts to

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replace sitting MPs? What I'm telling you is that the selections

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are a matter for local Labour Party members and affiliates. It is their

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right to choose through the mechanisms laid down by party

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conference and the National Executive Committee, to do that,

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that is completely normal. What I am saying is Momentum is not

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campaigning for any deselection. Even at a local level? Momentum is

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not campaigning for deselection. Are you telling me Momentum is not

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involved in trying to get rid of local MPs at local level, is that

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what you are saying? Andrew, what I'm telling you is that selections

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and elections within the Labour Party are the democratic right for

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members and affiliates. We are not trying to interfere with that, one

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way or the other. There may be members of Momentum who are members

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of the Labour Party who take a particular view on their MP, for

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example myself, I am a member of Momentum and the Labour Party, I

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take the view on my MP, I really like my MP. Who is your MP? Keir

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Starmer. So his position is safe from Momentum? All MPs' positions

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are safe... We have got Len McCluskey of Unite saying it is time

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to get rid of MPs who have been overcritical of Mr Corbyn, Mark

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Sandell lecturing Momentum on how to unseat sitting MPs, Clive Lewis

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describing deselection as simply democratic selection. Have you not

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had the memo yet? Andrew, selections, as I keep on saying, are

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the democratic right of local party members and affiliates. I am not

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trying to stop anybody having those rights, those rights are extremely

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important in a democratic party, but what I'm not going to do is be

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goaded into saying something I don't think, which is that Momentum should

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be organising for deselection is because that is not what we are

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doing. You are not being goaded, simply questioned. Is it correct

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that Momentum would like to have, or plans to have, what it is calling an

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engagement officer in every constituency Labour Party just to

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keep an eye on what is going on? Can you tell us what the engagement

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officer would do? It is half true. If you look at the guidelines on

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Momentum's website, to be a verified local Momentum, you need positive

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engagement with your local Labour Party, local trades union branches,

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community and activist groups, so each group has Labour Party

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engagement officers so that people are making sure they are taking part

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in the party, we want people to be as involved in the Labour Party as

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they can be, to be campaigning and part of a Democratic Party. Thank

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you, I know this was short notice, thank you for joining us this

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morning. Let's move on because we talked

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about Labour at the beginning. To the Lib Dems. Theoretically, the Lib

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Dems, at this point, given what is happening to Labour, given Mrs May

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and grammar schools, there could be an opening for the Lib Dems, but is

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there any sign of it? At the moment the thing that Tim Farron could do

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to get noticed would be to go skinny-dipping off Brighton beach

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because it might get him some press attention. He gave quite an

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interesting speech which I'm afraid I read on my mobile phone rather

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than watching in person, which tells a tale itself. This is

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a guy trying to rebuild locally, get councillors elected again, being

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relatively successful at that, they just got a 38% swing in athletes the

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other day against the Labour Party, but it is a long road back and at

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the moment they are not exploiting the national opportunity they have

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got. I think the problem they have got is their grassroots network is

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so depleted, the opposite situation to the Labour Party. They do not

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have the kind of infrastructure any more, there are no resources, human

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or financial resources, they don't have the people to go out there and

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knock on doors. Tim Farron, a great and lovely guy, but he doesn't

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provide the most charismatic of leadership and they really deep to

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find something to pin a revival on, and at the moment it isn't there. I

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am more upbeat than these two, it is a long road back that there is a

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space down the middle between their Labour is and the Conservatives are,

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it is very authoritarian at the Home Office which opens up a space for a

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Liberal party. They have only got eight MPs, if they had more, we

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would be paying more attention to them. Attention is one of the

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problems, getting attention is difficult for them, there will not

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be that many senior journalists at the Lib Dem conference. Then never

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used to be. We are going way back to where it Lib Dems used to be a long

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time ago. But it is worse, if you look ten years ago at least they had

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a reasonable cohort but I don't think the number of MPs is the

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issue. To get attention you have got to be spiky, punchy, pumping out

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controversial press releases, they are not doing that. But they have an

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advantage over Labour, they are used to talking to people who disagree

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with them, there are relatively few friendly ears for the Lib Dem, and I

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think there are some signs of resurgence but it is a long road

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back. There is a new Tory group campaigning for hard Brexit. It is

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fair to say that the longer Mrs May waits to trigger article 50, the

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more Tory divisions will come to the surface? I think that is fair

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enough, absolutely, but I have some sympathy with her position of

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leaving it until she has got her ducks in a row. Once Article 50 is

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triggered, there is a limited time frame to work out the negotiations,

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and you had an interesting guest earlier, we had David Liddington who

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spent so long on the European diplomatic circuit, and his view is

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that you do need time to work all this out before you press the button

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on it. So not this side of New Year? But you cannot leave it forever

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because there are European elections coming up, it would be ludicrous to

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be in a position where we are re-elected MEPs. I will out myself

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as a moaning Remainer. Nigel Farage this morning said people voted to

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get out of the single market. Did they? Again, no one knows what

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Brexit means. We will talk more about that as autumn progresses.

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Jo Coburn will be back on BBC Two tomorrow at noon

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with coverage of the Lib Dem conference in Brighton.

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I will bring Tim Farron's speech on Tuesday.

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And I'll be back with more Sunday Politics live from the Labour

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conference in Liverpool here on BBC One next Sunday at 11am.

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Remember, if it's Sunday, it's the Sunday Politics.

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Andrew Marr is joined by Ukip leader Diane James MEP and leader of the House of Commons David Lidington MP. On the political panel are Helen Lewis from the New Statesman, Isabel Oakeshott from the Daily Mail and Tim Shipman from the Times.


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